Principles of Neuroengineering

[Class Content]   [Fall 2017]  [Fall 2015]  [Fall 2013]  [Fall 2012]  [Fall 2011]  [Fall 2010]  [Fall 2009]  [Fall 2008]  [Fall 2007]  

MIT Course Numbers: 9.422 ~ 20.452 ~ MAS.881
Instructor: E.S. Boyden
Units: H-level ~ 3-0-9 Units
Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:30AM-12PM
Place: E14-493


Covers how to innovate technologies for brain analysis and engineering, for accelerating the basic understanding of the brain, and leading to new therapeutic insight and inventions. Focuses on using physical, chemical and biological principles to understand technology design criteria governing ability to observe and alter brain structure and function. Topics include optogenetics, noninvasive brain imaging and stimulation, nanotechnologies, stem cells and tissue engineering, and advanced molecular and structural imaging technologies. Design projects by students.


Part I. How should we understand the brain? Known principles, building blocks, and functions. The unknowns.

Th 9/4, Overview of the class. Introductions.
Tu 9/9, Circuit elements of the nervous system. Neurons, glia, blood vessels. Channels, receptors. Genes and cell types. Modalities of signaling, ionic, gap junctional, ephaptic, synaptic/chemical, second messenger, diffusible, gaseous. Analog electrical signaling. New mechanisms.
Th 9/11, Macroscopic circuits. Brain region connectivity and architecture, circuit dynamics, emergent properties of brain dynamics. How these past conclusions were influenced by past technologies, and what is unknown or uncertain.
Tu 9/16, Microscopic circuits. Cell type-specific connectivity, connectomics, kinds of connections, gliocircuits. How these past conclusions were influenced by past technologies, and what is unknown or uncertain.
Th 9/18, Paper discussions: building blocks and mechanisms of the brain.

Part II. Technologies for mapping and measurement: molecular, anatomical, and dynamical observation and readout.

Tu 9/23, Noninvasive mapping and measurement. PET, photoacoustic, MEG, EEG, fMRI, infrared imaging, x-rays. Physical principles of noninvasive brain interfacing.
Th 9/25, Invasive mapping and measurement. Electrodes, nanoprobes, nanoparticles, optical imaging and optical microscopy, endoscopy, multiphoton microscopy, light scattering, bioluminscence, electron microscopy.
Tu 10/7, Paper discussions - tools for mapping and measurement.
Th 10/9, Midterm presentations.

Part III. Technologies for controlling and constructing: molecular, anatomical, and dynamical control and building.

Tu 10/14, Macrocircuit control. Magnetic, electrical, ultrasonic, chemical, pharmacological/pharmacogenetic, thermal.
Th 10/16, Microcircuit control. DBS, infrared optical stimulation, optogenetics, nanoparticle-mediated control, uncaging, signaling control.
Th 10/23, Circuit assembly. Development, 3-D brain building, tissue engineering, stem cells, gene therapy and viral/trangenic technologies, extracellular matrix.
Tu 10/28, Paper discussions - tools for controlling and constructing.

Part IV. Principles of neurotechnology design.

Th 10/30, Building blocks of future tools I. Barcoding, quantum-measurement nanoparticles, DNA origami, robotics, nanorobots, automation of neuroscience, splicing, mechanosensation, immune cells, prions, newborn neurons, post-transcriptional/translational modification.
Th 11/6, Principles of designing future tools. Top-down vs. bottom-up design approaches, architecting tools, omnidisciplinary collaboration principles, tools for science vs. tools for the clinic, business models of teaching and dissemination, democratization vs. observatories, "conservation laws", "blind spots" in technology development.
Tu 11/25, Paper discussions - building blocks and principles.

Part V. Final Presentations.

Tu 12/2, final presentations part I.
Th 12/4, final presentations part II.